A Full Guide on Difference Between Running and Training Shoes

A complete guide explaining all the differences between running shoes and training shoes. It also includes a comparison table with the most important features of each kind of shoe.

Sneakers are available in a wide variety of models. You can also find sneakers for walking, running, weight lifting, doing aerobics, and more. Among the most popular types of sneakers, you can find running shoes and training shoes.

Besides, both kinds of shoes are quite similar. However, they have slight differences that make them suitable for certain physical activities. In this article, you’ll find each of them so you can choose the shoe type that best suits you. At the end of this article, you’ll also find a comparison table detailing the most interesting features of running and training shoes.

What is Running Shoes & Special Features

Running shoes are specially designed to absorb high impacts. In contrast with other kinds of shoes, running shoes have a higher heel drop. So, the stress on the rear of the foot is less.

Running shoes have a complex friction pattern to guarantee an optimal grip. The midsole is also made of a soft material to prevent pressure points. Usually, the outsole has grooves under the ball of the foot. Because of that, your foot can easily bend forward, allowing a more natural movement while you’re running.

Best running shoes have a plastic cover on the heel that restricts the movement of the back of your foot. This design also ensures that your heel will always hit the thickest point of the sole. Because of that, there’s a lower risk of injuries.

Weight reduction is also a priority in running shoes. Therefore, running shoe soles aren’t always made of a single piece of foam. In some cases, air chambers and gel pads are used to absorb impacts and minimize weight. That way, runners can move their feet faster.

While you run, your feet tend to sweat profusely. The accumulation of sweat inside the shoe can generate humidity and bad odors. Therefore, running shoes have breathable uppers. That way, sweat evaporates quickly, keeping your shoes dry and cool.

It’s also common that your ankle bones rub against the ankle collars when your feet hit the ground. That constant friction can cause blisters and calluses. To prevent this, running shoes also have concave ankle collars to reduce contact. Also, the collar is cushioned with a soft material to protect your skin.

What is Training Shoes & Special Features

While running shoes focus on forwarding movement, training shoes are designed for multi-directional movement. In this case, the outsole is flat and much thinner, so it can easily bend in any direction. Because of that, the outsole should also be soft and flexible.

The midsole is soft, usually made of memory foam. That way, it better adapts to the shape of your foot. The shoes are also lightweight to let you move faster. That’s why they’re perfect for aerobics.

Lateral movements tend to generate too much pressure on the upper. The pressure is even higher when you use your feet to brake. Therefore, training shoes need more resistant uppers, made of leather or any resistant synthetic material. Uppers made of PVC mesh would tear very easily, so they’re not a good choice for training shoes.

However, breathability is also important, especially if you have sweaty feet. Therefore, ventilation holes are very important to accelerate sweat evaporation. Having extra space inside your shoes is also important to prevent damage to your toes. Therefore, it’s recommended to have at least ¼-inch of clearance on the top and sides of your training shoes.

A Comparison Table: Running Shoes vs Training Shoes

Below, you’ll find a detailed comparison table that easily explains the differences between both kinds of shoes.

FeaturesRunning shoeTraining shoe
Movement patternForward movementMulti-directional movement
MaterialsRubber, polyester, nylon, PVC meshLeather, PU leather, rubber, polyester, polyurethane
Outsole designThick outsole with complex friction patternThin and flexible outsole with complex friction pattern
Heel-toe dropHighFlat
Midsole designCushioned on the heelUniform cushioning
Upper designSoft and  breathableReinforced for maximum impact absorption
Best forRunningWeight lifting, aerobics, strength training, outdoor boot camps


As you can see, running shoes and training shoes can be easily confused. However, some small differences allow you to easily recognize them. The most obvious difference is the design of the outsole. Running shoes have thick outsoles, while training shoes have thin outsoles.

So, before buying any kind of shoe, consider which type of outsole is best for your kind of training. In addition, make sure the upper is slightly wider than your foot. That way, you’ll have greater freedom of movement. If the shoe is too tight, it will generate too much pressure.

So, carefully follow each of these recommendations. That way, you’ll be better prepared to make a wise decision.

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James Smith

James Smith, along with an army of foot soldiers, personally tries and reviews some of the most revered products and brand in almost every imaginable category of footwear.

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